Friday, June 24, 2011

Finally the Slow Season. For Income.

I never thought I would look forward to Daniel's work slowing down like I have this year. In past years it's been a test of faith when the slow time kept going... and going... and going. And the bills didn't stop coming just because our income dropped drastically.

This year, though, we were anticipating it. And when things got BUSY instead of slowing down, we were thinking "Ok... it's nice overtime, I guess he'll work on the addition ... sometime!" Then last week he started getting home at more reasonable hours. And this week early.

He didn't have to go to work yesterday at all, and has off again today! Usually the slow time is much earlier in the year so I was thinking maybe it had skipped over his company this time. Now that this week has turned into a 3 day work week, it's kinda nice. I'm not anxious about getting through the slow season this year. I know that God will get us through financially, and we're also better prepared than we have been in the past.

While we have no way of knowing if this will last one week or several, here are ways I'm planning to make our household budget stretch:

Making meals strictly from what we already have on hand. We bought 1/2 a side of beef this spring, I have 2 turkeys in the freezer from the Easter sale (one is cooked and picked, the other one is still whole), sliced ham for sandwiches also from the Easter sale, and a couple weeks ago I stocked up on chicken when it was on sale and marked down. We are getting plenty of squash and zucchini from the garden plus there are plenty of peas in the freezer and some other frozen vegetables that I picked up here and there. I have been keeping more flour on hand so bread won't be a problem. The only thing we will need to get weekly will be milk, and maybe orange juice or eggs.

Ban use of the clothes dryer. I'll be honest and say that this week I have used it instead of hanging clothes out on the line because I felt I had so much going on. But I can rearrange priorities even more and start hanging out laundry again. I might save electricity by using my time to hang out the laundry instead of running the vacuum cleaner... :P I'm working on a wedding cake this week, so my already prioritized priorities are even more not the norm.

Use cloth diapers. Disposables are so not cheap when you're not sniffing out the best deals possible. Ok, "sniffing out" probably wasn't the best choice of words! Ha! I have really slacked off on the cloth diapers lately because I haven't made folding the flat diapers a top priority. Since I bought the FuzziBunz - which I could use day in and day out! - I have grown to really dis-like the flat diapers that require about 5x the work. I was actually considering buying more FuzziBunz (we only have 5, enough for 1 day), but of course that is going to go way back on the burner now. What we do have works just fine, I just need to take the time to use them.

I know none of this is new to me and probably not to you. I'm putting it in writing because somehow this makes it more do-able and more of a commitment on my part. I've done pantry challenges before. I've been strict about line drying everything before. I've been strict about using cloth diapers before. I can do it again.

I'll be posting again soon, I hope, with some new pictures of progress actually being made on the addition! It has been so long since Daniel's been able to make any real progress, this is exciting!


Davene Grace said... [Reply to comment]

Miriam, has anyone told you recently what a wonderful helpmeet you are for Daniel? I'm sure he feels so supported by you and grateful for your wise handling of money. Well done! :)

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Good attitude, Miriam! I have been avoiding the dryer as much as I can (generally using it only for an emergency, such as need a clean dry blankie right away). I have wondered, though, are there any figures out there telling how many dollars or cents drying a load in the dryer costs? Such as, are we hanging out a load to save 2 pennies, or 2 dollars, or 20 dollars? It would be nice to know how much money it saves.

I do not like living close to the wire. At all. Living frugally gets tiring and old, I am finding out. Andrew's semi-sabbatical this spring had a more profound affect on our finances than I realized it would at the time (and when I agreed and supported his idea for him to take this semi-sabbatical to develop apps). We are creeping through it now, since his paychecks come 3 to 4 months after the work. Sometimes I worry until I'm nearly sick to my stomach, but I know we will not starve, and I know in just a couple months things will be different because he has been working a lot for a while. (And Andrew doesn't worry about this at all! He says the difference is he's sitting there working and earning money, so he knows things will be fine. I'm the one feeling like my hands are tied behind my back and I can't make one red cent!) I've recommended to him that his next sabbatical needs to be a paid sabbatical!

Anyway, like you, we have plenty of meat in the freezer, and there's a lot of canned food in the pantry, so we are doing fine.

Cate said... [Reply to comment]

Good luck! If anyone can do it, you can...I find you so inspirational when it comes to saving money. And your garden is amazing!

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

@Sally About the dryer, I don't know for sure. You can probably do some Google-ing with your make and model and find out :P I just know that the more I use the dryer, I do see our electric bill creep up. Of course I don't have proof that it wasn't the AC running more, or that I didn't run the oven more, etc.

Living close to the wire is not fun. I'm so glad we have our emergency fund full and while we will be very careful with our spending, it is nice to know it's there if we need to fall back on it - which we have had to do before through lean times.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

You do a great job at figuring these types of things out. I still have not figured out how to get everything done that needs done (domestic duties, that is) when I leave to go spray corn at 5:30 in the morns. and I don't get back to the house til 10 or 11 at night. And I can't start the laundry til after we take our showers at night and I'm to lazy to get up at 4am to hang the wash out before I leave so it goes in the dryer. I can't really put food in the crock pot for supper on these days cause it would burn to a crisp til I got home.
If you have any earth shattering ideas PLEASE pass them along..... I do feel like I am slowly drowning, (and my maid, Carla is in Colorado!!). But this to shall pass..... and than it will be time for next cutting of hay!!!!

Miriam said... [Reply to comment]

@Anonymous Jul, I'm not sure that I would be worried about line drying the laundry either if I was working your hours! As far as food, I'd probably do freezer meals - cook up a bunch of stuff and then just pull it out of the freezer in the morning before you leave and stick it in the frige to thaw. But you have to have time to MAKE the food to freeze it, too. You're a very busy person, moreso than me! (And I do not keep up with all my domestic duties all at the same time. Faaaar from it!)

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Julia, I am just dying for the day when they make remote controlled ovens and crockpots. I'm thinking something that you can dial to from your cell phone and cut it on either so the oven is preheated by the time you get home with the frozen pizza, or so you can put frozen meat in the crockpot, leave home, and at the appropriate time, cut on the crockpot.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Sally, please ask Andy to make a cell phone app. that will turn on the oven and or crock pot by dialing in. I def. think that is an app. that I would consider.... if I had a phone new enough to accept apps!!!!

Laura said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Miriam! I've enjoyed reading through yours. :)